Kunming - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Kunming


Kunming is known as the 'city of eternal spring' due to its pleasant climate and attractive setting. The capital of the Yunnan province in southern China, the city of over three million encompasses an ancient city, a modern commercial district, a university, and residential areas. It is one of China's major tourism cities, with over two million people annually choosing a holiday in Kunming.

Kunming has been rapidly modernised in the last few decades, in places to the detriment of traditional sights and interesting cultural locations. Nonetheless, Kunming has many sights and cultural attractions worth visiting, including temples, museums, parks and gardens, and the fascinating Stone Forest. Jiuxiang Scenic Area also has a number of caves and waterfalls that are popular attractions.

Kunming is a relatively safe city, but there are warnings of pickpockets and increased cons and scams involving tourists.

Information & Facts

The official language is Mandarin Chinese, but there are hundreds of local dialects.

The currency used in China is the Renminbi Yuan (CNY). The Yuan is divided into 10 chiao/jiao or 100 fen. Make sure you exchange your leftover Yuan before returning home because this currency can be exchanged only within China's borders. Travellers cheques, preferably in US Dollars, and foreign cash can be exchanged in cities at the Bank of China. Banks are closed weekends. The larger hotels and the special 'Friendship Stores' designed for foreigners will accept most western currencies for purchases. Major credit cards are accepted in the main cities at various establishments, but outside the major cities acceptance is limited. ATMs are scarce outside the main cities.

Local time is GMT +8.

The Jiuxiang Scenic Area near Kunming is only 7.7 square miles (20km sq) but packs a big punch in terms of important sights with five popular tourist attractions. Diehong Bridge, Alu Long, Dasha Dam, Mingyue Lake, and Sanjiao Cave. Diehong Bridge, Dasha Dam and Sanjiao Cave all have picturesque 'stone forests' with China's distinctive karst limestone formations, while Diehong Bridge also has twin waterfalls with a large natural stone dam cluster, and Dasha Dam has lush green forest. Jiuxiang is the home of the aboriginal Yi people, and Alu Long is home to the excavated Yi cliff paintings of the Qin (221BC-206BC) and Han (206BC-220AD) dynasties. Yi customs and culture are still evident today in the many legends and folk stories. Jiuxiang Scenic Area is located 55.9 miles (90km) from Kunming, and makes an excellent day trip. Visitors should bring warm clothes, as the interior of the caves can be quite cool.

The stone forest, about two hours' drive from Kunming, is a UNESCO-listed site, with many limestone pillars and stalagmites poking out of the green hillsides. Its distinctive landscape is worth seeing, but can be crowded with tourists at peak times as over three million people visit every year. You can avoid the masses by going in the morning or early evening, and avoiding weekends and Chinese public holidays.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selction of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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